I could see this place from my hotel window and after days and days of gazing down on it, I walked over for a closer look. The whole area – several buildings, a park, and a large reflecting pool – used to make up the headquarters of the Church of Christ, Scientist. Apparently, the church has lately sold some of the property to Northeastern University and I guess that gave them the cash they needed to renovate the 1894 Mother Church building.
The building on the right was part of a 1970s grand expansion of the church’s facilities. It was designed by famed architect I. M. Pei, and (believe it or not) won a bunch of awards, include the Prestressed Concrete Institute Award (1973), the Design Award of the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (1975), and (this one’s my favorite) the 1975 Harleston Parker Award from the Boston Society of Architects for the “most beautiful piece of architecture” built in Greater Boston in the past ten years.
Christian Science Plaza
If you are in Boston and you are hanging out with your photographer friend and he says you “have” to go see (and photograph) the Boston Public Library, you’d be an idiot to disregard those words.
About a million thank-yous to my friend Don Toothaker for his very sound advice. I never would have given the library a second thought; Don’s other advice was to slow down and look at the details. I did that, too, but it’s the feeling of this spectacular space that has stayed with me. It’s so classic, so classical, so hushed. Kind of like church, only with books and reading tables. And fewer hymns.
Boston Public Library
There’s not a single thing here that says “welcome”…yet I stopped anyway. I had to.
(I mean that literally – we’d spotted this place a month earlier, on the way back home from a weekend trip with some friends but we drove right on by. But I didn’t forget it. I couldn’t forget it. So I did what I had to do.)
Chaves County, New Mexico